Students initially admitted to the MA degree complete 30 hours of coursework and a written examination. Students take three courses in the first semester and two per semester for the balance of the degree. All MA students take English 400: Composition and the Teaching of Writing; and English 487: Literary and Critical Theory (or an equivalent course in theory). Beginning in Fall 2018, students will complete three semester of a one-credit-hour seminar tied to the Department Colloquium. Students must also take at least one and no more than four from each of the following areas:

  1. British Literature to 1800
  2. British Literature since 1800
  3. American Literature
  4. Other Departmental offerings at the 400- or 500-levels, including linguistics, rhetoric, critical theory, film, and creative writing. (Note that some of these courses are by permission of the instructor.)

In normal circumstances, students take the MA Comprehensive Examination over the course of their second year of study. Part I is a 90-minute oral examination covering a set reading list; Part II involves the revision of a course paper and the submission of a portfolio.

MA Reading List

In exceptional cases, students may be able to write a Master’s thesis. Students pursuing the Thesis Option complete 24 hours of coursework and write a thesis over the course of the second year that reflects 6 credits of writing and research. While there is no comprehensive examination for students pursuing the Thesis Option, students must nevertheless earn a unanimous “pass” on the thesis and the thesis defense from a supervisory committee.